Saturday, July 29, 2017


John 2:1-25 Isaac Watts “Religion was never designed to make our pleasures less”

John 2:1-25  Isaac Watts "Religion was never designed to make our pleasures less"

Repeated words and phrases in  John's gospel:

John 2:4 My hour has not yet come

John 4: 21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

John 7:30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

John 8:20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

27 "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.  32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.

John 17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you,


His hour was to come: The Cross and the Crown!

The time has come

Cana 10km from Nazareth. 2 hours walk. But if you have nowhere else to go, anywhere is somewhere to go.  Glen Innes. We would go to Inverell to get our feet warm. The only other place to go was Armidale, and it was as cold!  But its better to be out of the town than in it on your day off!

A Wedding: Poor people, Mary helping ..Wine  could be a moment of complete devastation for life: ran out of wine!! When you have only water and wine, no other options, it's a crisis!  people had been known to be sued for running out of wine at their weddings!  Divorced for running out of wine!

The setting provides the opportunity. Why is this the first sign?

It has to do with existential longings!  WOW… ever felt empty? Lonely? Meaningless?

There was a fictional department store where kids broke in and changed the price tags. Expensive things were priced light and inexpensive things bore heavy price tags.

Joy is not found in riches: Jay Gould " I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth." Amazon's owner Jeff Brezos richest man on earth, yet his employees are regularly found crying at their desks. Bezos has long had a reputation for being unusually stingy, even for a multibillionaire.

Andrew Carnegie : millionaires seldom smile and never laugh."

Joy is not found in pleasures,  Robert Burns : "Pleasures are as poppies spread: You seize the flower the bloom is shed."

Joy is not found in Power Alexander the Great wept because there were no more worlds to conquer.  Svetlana Stalin after defecting to the USA "I believe that the conqueror himself was not happy at all. On the contrary there was a complete loneliness, unhappiness, disappointment and suspicion all around him."

Joy at weddings?

Do you fear that if a friend finds Christ, they will find religion tedious?

1. The Time Has Come To Experience Meaningful Joy

A Quality More Than You Can Ever Know   A New Quality of Joy

The time has come for Joy

I remember once being confronted by a dour deacon "I don't like you!" "Why don't you like me Elwyn?"

"You are too happy! You use jokes in your sermons and everyone laughs. Everyone likes you. I don't like you."

I thanked Elwyn for the compliment and sent him home, and I was rejoicing.

Vance Havner put it "The average Sunday morning congregation appears as if it has gathered to mourn a defeat rather than celebrate a victory.  Too many seem to be enduring their salvation instead of enjoying it. We need to remind ourselves that we have not been called to a funeral, but a feast."

Alwyn and Cec Williams, Song leaders: "Will you please stand sir and lead us in a frown?"

Messianic Joy

Isa 9:1 Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.2  The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light;  Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.3 You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.4 For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian.


Isaiah 12:1 And in that day you will say: " O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.2  Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ' For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.' "3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.4 And in that day you will say: " Praise the LORD, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.5  Sing to the LORD, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!"


Isa 35:8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. 9  No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there,10  And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


Isa 49:8 Thus says the LORD: " In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;9 That You may say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,' To those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.' " They shall feed along the roads, And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst, Neither heat nor sun shall strike them; For He who has mercy on them will lead them, Even by the springs of water He will guide them.11 I will make each of My mountains a road, And My highways shall be elevated.12  Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west, And these from the land of Sinim."13  Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.


Isa 55: 8 " For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.9 " For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.10 " For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.12 " For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.


Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.4 " Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side.5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.


Isaiah 61: 1"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;2  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,3  To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.5  Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.6 But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast.7 Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.8 " For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant.9 Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, And their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them, That they are the posterity whom the LORD has blessed." 10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Romans 14: 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


2. The Time Has Come To Experience Massive Joy

A Quantity More Than You Can Ever Need A New Quantity of Joy

1 Tim 6:17 He has given us all things to enjoy.

1 Peter 1: 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith --- the salvation of your souls.

1. O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow May richer, fuller be.

2. O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee; My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine's blaze its day May brighter, fairer be.

3. O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.


"O Love That Will Not Let Me Go" written on the evening of Matheson's sister's marriage. His whole family had went to the wedding and had left him alone. And he writes of something which had happened to him that caused immense mental anguish. There is a story of how years before, he had been engaged until his fiancé learned that he was going blind, and there was nothing the doctors could do, and she told him that she could not go through life with a blind man. He went blind while studying for the ministry, and his sister had been the one who had taken care of him all these years, but now she is gone. He had been a brilliant student, some say that if he hadn't went blind he could have been the leader of the church of Scotland in his day. He had written a learned work on German theology and then wrote "The Growth of The Spirit of Christianity." Louis Benson says this was a brilliant book but with some major mistakes in it. When some critics pointed out the mistakes and charged him with being an inaccurate student he was heartbroken. One of his friends wrote, "When he saw that for the purposes of scholarship his blindness was a fatal hindrance, he withdrew from the field – not without pangs, but finally." So he turned to the pastoral ministry, and the Lord has richly blessed him, finally bringing him to a church where he regularly preached to over 1500 people each week. But he was only able to do this because of the care of his sister and now she was married and gone. Who will care for him, a blind man? Not only that, but his sister's marriage brought fresh reminder of his own heartbreak, over his fiancé's refusal to "go through life with a blind man." It is the midst of this circumstance and intense sadness that the Lord gives him this hymn – written he says in 5 minutes! Looking back over his life, he once wrote that his was "an obstructed life, a circumscribed life… but a life of quenchless hopefulness, a life which has beaten persistently against the cage of circumstance, and which even at the time of abandoned work has said not "Good night" but "Good morning." How could he maintain quenchless hopefulness in the midst of such circumstances and trials? His hymn gives us a clue. "I trace the rainbow in the rain, and feel the promise is not vain" The rainbow image is not for him "If the Lord gives you lemons make lemonade" but a picture of the Lord's commitment!


I tried the broken cisterns Lord and oh the waters failed, 

Now none but Christ can satisfy None other name for me, there's love and life and lasting joy, Lord Jesus found in Thee.



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